The Different Analytics Platform Options

Which Google Analytics alternatives are viable for business owners looking to make a switch?  Whilst GA is a great choice for a variety of reasons, there are some drawbacks to using it too. 

Some folks have become uncomfortable with the amount of information that Google scoops up via there various services. And from a business perspective, giving away key data to a 3rd party may be unsettling for some CEOs and Irish business owners who don't  want their data and their customer information used for other purposes. 

Another problem with GA is that it has a steep learning curve and requires a little bit of time studying and working with it to get the best results, especially if you are not installing analytics on WordPress. Sure, any Dublin based business can do it themselves but to get the most out of it requires a certain level of expertise that doesn't happen over night.

There have been many complaints over the years that the interface is built for data scientists and not for the small business owner. There have been many improvements made but the accusation still remains that it's not easy to get to grips with.

And whilst it is a 'free choice' there are some drawbacks that you should consider before leaping in. Without a doubt the most important being, is it worth your time to learn this complex system?

So What Else Is Out There?

Web analytics is not a new market and there are a variety of mature other options to GA, all with their own focus, advantages and disadvantages. Here are just a few notable Google Analytics alternatives.

Clicky


Clicky is a much loved platform in the SEO community due to it's annonymos tracking system which allowed search engine experts to track multiple sites without reavealing the sites tracking unique identifier and thus showing others a connection between the sites.

This is of course not the only reason that Clicky is such a popular alternative. It also has a very slick and intuitive interface that most people fall in love with. Particularly those that don't jive with the GA system.

Clicky is really easy to set up and just requires placing a little code on your system like GA. The stand out features are:

  • Itemised Visitor Log
  • Customisable Tracking
  • Goal Tracking
  • Funnel and Path Analysis
  • Real Time Analytics
  • Split Testing
  • Heatmaps
  • Monitoring of Uptime

Clicky is a good alternative and have a basic account package that's free and allows 1 site and tracking of up to 3,000 daily views. Premium accounts with more features start at about $10/month.

Mixpanel

Mixpanel has taken a different approach to web analytics and in many ways, it makes much more sense for goal orientated business that sell products or services.

Mixpanel focuses on 'Goals' instead of 'Events'. What this means is that the whole system is geared toward improving your companies ROI annd focuses on the metrics that will help you streamline the buying and conversion process. 

As I mentioned this makes perfect sense for online retailers and small businesses that are focused on the conversion rather than all the ancillary information that would be useful to an online publication or even a business that knows it must educate and develop a relationship with it's audience before looking for the sale.

Mixpanel's main features are as follows:

  • Advanced Segmentation
  • Funnel Testing & Split Testing
  • Retention Reports With Customer Groupings
  • User Behavior Analytics
  • Calculation of Customer Lifetime Value
  • Support For Automation

Mixpanel's free basic option is quite limited in that it only allows for 25,000 data points and many of the really useful features are reserved for the premium accounts which start at $150/month.

piwik-analytics

Piwik (Now Matomo)

Piwik is known as a self hosted solution in that you have to install yourself but it does not have a managed cloud option. The other caveat that I should point out from the get go, is that you do need to be a bit more code savvy to get the most out of it.

Piwik is an open-source solution that is highly responsive to its user base and it does have a large user base of both small tech enthusiasts and large multi-national companies. 

Piwik is similar in many ways to GA but the interface is much more intuitive. It has a slimmed down core with a wide range of features available through it's extensible plugin system.

  • Customisable Dashboard
  • Goal Oriented Tracking
  • Detailed Visitor Logs
  • Plugin Marketplace

Depending on your needs of course, Piwik offers all the necessary features for a small business at the very affordable price of 'free'.

Kissmetrics-Analytics

KissMetrics

KISSmetrics is another event based system that puts the focus squarely on return on investment and some have called it Google conversions on steroids. Whilst I'm not sure I'd go that far, it is certainly a compelling option for e-businesses with a wealth of features to get the most out of your audience.

KISSmetrics has been built from the ground up to help you understand where your sale are being genereated and understand where the sales process starts. 

It uses an excellent system to provide you with all the data to know which referrals are generating the most income and you can even account for 'refunds' with in the system. Here are the main features:

  • Unlimited Reports
  • Unlimited A/B Tests
  • Advanced Data Segmentation
  • Group Contact Lists

There's a whole bevy more features available for the different plans, so if this sounds like your thing, go and take a look at their plans which start from $150/month.

Do You Need A Google Analytics Alternative?

Well that's an important decision and one that's definitely worth taking some time to investigate. As mentioned at the start of this article, there are many people who just don't like the Google Analytics interface and find it difficult to get any insights from the way the data is presented.

If this is you, then you should take a look at the other options.

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About the Author

Foley has been helping businesses increase their revenue and boost their online presence for 4 years. He enjoys jogging, beer and tinkering with the web.